These islands- I dream of going to them. They are so close, yet strangely unattainable. They are right in front of me most days, yet ever illusive. They are an outline of what could be, and I’ve never been able to make it there. Untold adventures waiting for me to discover, and here I am both feet firmly planted on the mainland. As I write this, there they are, in front of me: intriguing, taunting, unattainable.
Isn’t that life? Dreams, plans, goals, future hopes- just out in front of us yet seemingly unreachable. What is the point of going after something that is unreachable? Why even bother untold time and heartache for something that would most likely never work out? The overwhelming feeling is that they are unattainable, but is that true?
My friend Monica and I have dreamed and joked about adventuring out to those islands for years. We made up crazy plans to paddle there on kayaks. Don’t worry- of course we did our research. Sadly, there are a million factors that work against us seeing this dream happen.
Let’s just say the odds would be ever (not) in our favor.
The islands are 8 nautical miles away from the shore. Total: 16 nautical miles of paddling. Not accounting for the strong ocean currents this would take at least ten hours one way. Total: 20 hours of paddling, and that’s if it’s at a steady pace. Ouch. Being honest, I’ve got little to no upper body strength. I would have to quit my ministry simply just to train full time. CrossFit anyone? and that is just the beginning. The dream quickly starts to look less and less realistic. The time and distance doesn't even take into account the potential for the hot sun turning us into lobsters, hungry sharks attacking, cruise ships passing through and plowing over our tiny kayaks, dangerous drug runners, the possibility of extreme dehydration, or the Mexican military tests that supposedly happen on the island.
Although this specific far fetched plan most likely will ever happen, I’d like to go out on a limb here and say for many of us those “islands,” the dreams in our lives that seem so unattainable, the dreams that have countless factors going against them, they are in fact attainable.
A couple days ago as I sat at the top of our campus here in Mexico overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy, overwhelmed by the dreams that God has placed in my heart that seem so unrealistic, overwhelmed by the dreams that I could never achieve on my own, God gently directed me to those islands again.
“You see those islands? You would never make it there without me.
The sharks, the physical exhaustion, the heat, everything.
It would all overtake you. But with me, you’d have a shot."
Going after the dreams God puts on your heart does not mean the journey will be obstacle free. It doesn’t mean that you won’t live out your own personal version of shark week or the sun won’t burn your body to a crisp. It doesn’t mean that you will float easily to your destination without effort. What it does mean is this: He equips you. He fights for you. He guides you through murky and dangerous waters safely. With him as your compass, the odds would actually be ever in your favor, you would have a chance to navigate safely to your dream. But it takes recognizing that it is not at all about you or your strengths, it is about God in you.
“For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strengthand keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;he causes me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.”
You see it’s not about my strength or what I can accomplish. These crazy dreams I have over my life, God planted them in me and He is what enables me to survive the journey to these unattainable islands.
I don’t have to dwell in feelings of inadequacy- all I have to be is willing.
God can take simple obedience and turn it into something amazing. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s this: the adventures God calls you to are always worth risking for.
It’s fun to dream with God. I challenge you to start the process of paddling out to your own islands. You may actually achieve your crazy dream. You may actually make it there in one piece. And hey, you may even enjoy the adventure along the way.